I was most surprised to find a PR email in my inbox declaring that a Blacksad game is in the works. Blacksad is a rather wonderful comic that I discovered a few years back, and I’ve since been telling everyone I know how wonderful it is and that they absolutely must go out and buy it. But in all that time I’ve never met anyone else who has even heard of Blacksad, so I’ve developed the idea that it’s probably only known to me and about a dozen other people, part of a secret Blacksad appreciation club.
Thus, when I read that a Blacksad game is being developed by Pendulo Studios and YS Interactive, my initial response was incredulity. First, how on earth did they find out about the club? Second, how on earth are they going to make a profit by selling the game to a dozen people? Of course, this is all just my personal fantasy – in fact, Blacksad is immensely popular, particularly in France, and the comic has been translated into more than 20 different languages. The club is vastly bigger than my brain perceived.
Blacksad is the work of artist Juanjo Guarnido and writer Juan Díaz Canales, who both hail from Spain and have been turning out stories about the hard-boiled private investigator John Blacksad, a black panther, since the year 2000. Guarnido once worked as an animator at Disney, and the Blacksad books are distinctly Disney-esque in many ways – they depict a world of anthropomorphic animals in an approximation of 1950s society. But rather unlike Disney movies, these animals are constantly being murdered in grisly ways and having provocative, very adult encounters with slinky femme fatales. It’s all very film noir indeed.
The forthcoming game, Blacksad: Under The Skin, is very much in the same vein, featuring a murder at a disreputable boxing club. Here’s the blurb:
In 1950s New York, Joe Dunn, the owner of a humble boxing club is found hanged. At the same time, Robert Yale, his protégé and greatest hope, is reported missing. Although overwhelmed by these terrible events, Joe Dunn’s daughter, Sonia, decides to continue working towards her father’s dreams: she takes over the boxing club and calls on John Blacksad to investigate this mysterious disappearance. It’s the eve of the fight of the year and the club, which is in serious financial difficulties, will not survive Robert’s withdrawal. The investigation will lead John Blacksad to the very heart of a world in which corruption reigns supreme.
Sounds utterly spiffing. The game is due out in 2019 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and Mac, and the PR email promises a ‘novelesque’ adventure, whatever that means. Looks like it will be a 3D point and click game, but details are still scarce on the ground. Still, if it’s anywhere near as good as the comics, it’ll be one to look out for.